Curious about the different kinds of anti-theft zippers and pulls and how they work? Then you are definitely in the right place because this guide will tell you everything you need to know about anti-theft zippers!
Whether you want to keep your luggage safe while traveling or you need something to keep your necessities secure during everyday activities, there’s a great anti-theft bag for you out there. Just keep in mind that no anti-theft zippers can protect your belongings from everyone – the point is to deter thieves so that you have more time to catch them in action!
There are many different kinds of anti-theft zippers and pulls and we’ll tell you all about them in this section!
Self-locking zippers have a small mechanism that locks the zipper pulls in place. The mechanism can be automatic so that the zippers lock as soon as there’s no pressure on the pullers or pin-based so that small pins lock the zipper pull in place when you lower the tabs.
Self-locking zippers are a good solution for everyday carry bags. You don’t have to walk around with a big padlock on your zipper, but your bag is still somewhat protected from thieves.
The point of self-locking zippers isn’t to keep your stuff ultra-secure, but rather to deter any thieves who might want to try and go through your belongings. They’ll be caught off guard when the zippers don’t open normally, which should give you plenty of time to catch them in action.
The main downside of self-locking zippers is that there’s no actual protection in place. If you come across a thief who can recognize these zippers immediately and knows how to unlock them, it will be as if you’re wearing a backpack with basic zippers.
Lockable zippers are probably the most common in backpacks and luggage. They’re just regular zippers with sliders you can lock in place. When your bag is fully zipped, the two zipper pulls connect with a small hole that’s just big enough to fit a padlock.
That way, a thief can’t unzip your luggage and take anything out without you noticing. This also deters thieves and gives you enough time to catch them in action. You can use whatever padlock you want (as long as it fits in the hole) to lock the two zipper pulls together.
Consider a TSA-friendly padlock for international travel. They’re the best option if you’re concerned about keeping your luggage safe during flying because the TSA can still open your bag and inspect it, but the thieves won’t be able to.
The main downside of lockable zippers is that it is still possible for someone to forcefully open your bag. Even when the zipper pulls are locked, in most cases it is possible to force open a zipper by inserting a ballpoint pen or another sharp object and forcing the zipper teeth apart. The thieves can’t zip up the bag again, so if someone were to tamper with the bag it would be immediately noticeable.
Magnetic zippers are just zippers that have magnets in their pulls. The pull tabs are drawn to each other, so they’re a bit more difficult to pull apart, but not impossible. That means that a thief can still open your bag, but they won’t be able to do it quickly.
The magnets are naturally drawn to each other, so it takes more force than you might expect to pull the tabs apart. This should deter most thieves, especially those who are trying to get into your bag without you noticing.
Magnetic zippers are often used in anti-theft everyday carry bags, and they’re a decent solution if you’re not worried about thieves too much, but you still want to have some extra protection for your belongings.
Double coil zippers are zippers that have two coil chains instead of one. A regular zipper (of your pants or jacket) has just one coil chain that is placed inside a zipper puller. A double coil zipper has two of these chains – one goes inside the puller and the other one stays outside.
They’re a lot safer than regular (single-coil) zippers because it’s virtually impossible to force them open with a ballpoint pen. If you are seriously worried about someone getting inside your bags, just make sure that you’re getting luggage with a double coil zipper and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
One thing to note is that double coil zippers are only effective in combination with some sort of zipper pull lock. Whether it’s a classic TSA lock on a suitcase, a padlock, or just self-locking pull tabs – a double coil zipper will keep your luggage protected only if it’s not possible for thieves to unzip the bag without any obstacles.
Zipper clips are small anti-theft gadgets that can be used to protect most zippers that have holes in the pull tabs. You attach the zipper clips to these holes and then the two clips lock in place together. It’s still possible to pull them apart, but it takes effort and time that a thief on a crowded train would not have.
Clips are a decent anti-theft solution for luggage and everyday carry bags, but they’re certainly not the safest option out of the bunch. The good thing about them is that they’re not very intuitive to open and it takes some time to figure out how to unlock the zipper. This is great for deterring thieves, but it also means that it will take you a while to get used to them.
The main downside of clips is that they’re practically useless if you are targeted by a thief who knows how to open them.
They do, but not in the way you might be hoping. An anti-theft zipper won’t stop someone who is determined to get inside your luggage, but it can stop random people from tampering with your bag.
The entire point of anti-theft zippers and pulls is to deter thieves who are not expecting any resistance from the zipper. If they are caught off guard, this gives you time to notice that someone is tampering with your bag, which will ultimately stop them. Also, many thieves will just give up when they realize they can’t open your bag with one swift move because they don’t want to get caught.
That being said, keep in mind that none of these zippers and pulls will stop someone who is absolutely determined to get inside your bags.
That’s why you should always pay close attention to your belongings, and if you see someone acting suspiciously, try to get as far away from them as possible. Thieves will often give up when they realize they’ve been made, especially if there is any security or police nearby.
In a way, it is. Zipperless luggage doesn’t have any zippers, so it’s harder to break into. Even the best-zippered suitcases can usually be forced open with a ballpoint pen, so it doesn’t matter how many locks you placed on the pulls.
With zipperless luggage, you don’t have to worry about someone destroying the zipper and getting to your valuables. The best zipperless suitcases usually have two TSA-friendly latch locks, which can’t be opened without a lot of effort. The latch locks normally can’t be opened without a proper code or a TSA master key, so it is much harder to force this luggage open.
Aluminum zipperless luggage is some of the safest luggage you can get your hands on. The hard-metal shell is much more difficult to break into than any type of plastic, including PC, so consider a zipperless aluminum suitcase if you need something super secure. Just keep in mind that they don’t come cheap.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s always possible for a thief to break into your luggage if they’re dead set on it. They could rip off the locks or just take a hammer and break your luggage open, but it’s highly unlikely something like that is going to happen. And if you are targeted by a thief who is willing to go that far to get into your luggage, there’s not much you can actually do to protect your belongings.
None of the solutions we’ve mentioned so far are 100% secure on their own. That’s why it’s important to look for bags that have multiple anti-theft features instead of just one.
First, look for a bag that has double-coil zippers because these are much more difficult to force open than single-coil zippers. Then, look for a way to lock the zipper pulls together – with the double coil zipper, a simple lockable zipper that can be secured with a padlock will do wonders.
Also, look for luggage that has additional anti-theft features, whether it’s slash-proof fabric, a shatter-resistant shell, or even a hidden zipper that can’t be found immediately. All these features are designed to deter thieves so that you have enough time to notice that someone is trying to tamper with your bag.
Alternatively, consider getting rid of zippers altogether and try out a zipperless suitcase. Pick up an aluminum zipperless suitcase if you’re transporting valuables and you want to be absolutely certain that your belongings will be safe from thieves.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!